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Mistrial sought in fatal Selby Ranch stabbing in 2012

She’s a nurse who found work on the side as a prostitute.

He’s a methamphetamine addict from Bakersfield with a 14-page rap sheet, the DA said.

Together, Stacey Ann Perryman and Bryan David Denton are on trial in the robbery-burglary murder of Stephen Sieck, a 60-year-old man who had just moved to Sacramento from New Mexico.

Authorities found Sieck’s body May 20, 2012, in his Selby Ranch apartment. Authorities believe he was killed the day before, stabbed 24 times in the head and neck by the killers, who returned the next day to set his body on fire.

Three days later, Sieck’s sport-utility vehicle turned up – burning – in the Mojave Desert. Detectives found Sieck’s wallet and the two knives believed to be the murder weapons inside.

A check of Sieck’s phone records led Sacramento sheriff’s detectives to a Bakersfield phone number that they say Perryman used for her Internet prostitution business. They arrested her and Denton on May 25 in a motel in Bakersfield.

When the trial began last week in Sacramento Superior Court, Perryman’s lawyer, Jennifer Mouzis, told the jury Denton was responsible for the whole thing. Denton’s lawyer, Laurance S. Smith, admitted to nothing but suggested that if his client stabbed anybody, he did it under the allure of his female co-defendant.

Before testimony resumed Tuesday, the two defense lawyers filed a double-barreled motion with Judge Russell L. Hom that asked to shut the whole thing down.

Mouzis and Smith said Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall hindered their ability to represent their clients by not disclosing to them until after the trial began the statement of a jailhouse snitch.

According to documents filed by Mouzis, Denton told the informant he flew into a stabbing frenzy on Sieck when he learned the victim allegedly “turned out his girl” – Perryman – as a prostitute and kept half her proceeds for himself. Authorities confirmed Perryman told friends Sieck tried “to pimp me out” to collect on $300 she owed him.

The prosecution’s trial brief said Sieck, who was last seen at a strip club the night before his death, met Perryman at a Rancho Cordova motel. When he moved to Selby Ranch, he let her live with him a for a few days in the well-tended complex at Watt Avenue and American River Drive in the month before his death.

Kindall said in an email to the defense lawyers he didn’t include the snitch’s statement in his discovery to them because it was “cumulative” to the information they already had from another informant.

Perryman’s lawyer is asking for an outright dismissal over the late disclosure. Denton’s attorney wants a mistrial. Hom scheduled a hearing Friday on the matter.

In testimony Tuesday, a former Selby Ranch resident told the jury he saw a couple that matched the description of Perryman and Denton outside Sieck’s apartment a few hours after detectives believe the man was killed.

Dr. Tomasz Antkowiak, an orthopedic surgeon, said he saw the woman sitting in the driver’s seat of a U-Haul. The woman noticed her truck was blocking his parked car and she politely asked if he wanted them to move it.

“She sounded relatively normal,” Antkowiak testified.

The man who was with her was another story, the doctor said – disheveled, “not totally with it ... almost disoriented.”

“He just didn’t look like he was put together very well,” Antkowiak said.

A woman who lived across from Sieck testified Tuesday she saw a man and a woman loading items into the U-Haul.

“I saw him walking with a lamp and other things, and there was a very large television set on the walkway,” Nina Lyon testified. “I thought it was very odd. (Sieck) had moved in there two months earlier, and he told me how happy he was there.”

The DA’s trial brief said Perryman has a history of move-out ripoffs. She once stole $11,000 worth of furniture, the prosecutor wrote, when she left a boyfriend in Bakersfield – even taking his clothes and razor.

In the Sacramento area, she once lived at the Travelodge on Micron Avenue in Rancho Cordova, and the bedding, towels, iron, ironing board and coffee maker were all missing when she checked out, according to Kindall’s brief.

Perryman, who lived in Bakersfield, stayed at the Travelodge and other motels when she got contract jobs as a registered nurse in the Sacramento area, her attorney said in court papers. At the residential motels, “she became friends with prostitutes, junkies and pimps” and used methamphetamine daily, according to Mouzis’ brief. Drugs, the lawyer said, “contributed to her erratic work ethic.”

Already romantically involved with Denton, Perryman first met Sieck at the Travelodge in Rancho Cordova when he moved into the area from New Mexico in February 2012.

When Denton was arrested and jailed on a warrant, she wound up staying at Sieck’s house for a few days in the month before he died.

Released from custody on May 7, Denton reunited with Perryman, and it was then that they got together to loot Sieck’s place on the day they killed him, authorities said.

Among the items missing were two sawed-off shotguns owned by Sieck. He may have fired one of them in a failed attempt at self-defense on the day he died, according to evidence at trial.

The defendants stored the stolen goods in a West Stockton Boulevard storage locker and spent the night at the Royal Delta Inn in Galt, according to the prosecution. The next morning, authorities say they returned to Selby Ranch to set Sieck’s body on fire.

Arson investigators testified they found all the ingredients to start an incendiary fire, but the blaze only smoked up the apartment and burned out due to lack of oxygen.

Neighbors called the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, whose crews came out at 4:47 p.m. on May 20 and found the body in a hallway closet.